Skilling captures match-play title

Jack Skilling went ahead at the 34th hole, then sealed the victory with an eight-foot birdie putt, as he outlasted Glen Barrett, 2 up, in their scheduled 36-hole final of the Middle Atlantic PGA match play championship at Rolling Road yesterday.

It gave Skilling, 32, an assistant professional at Columbia CC, a pair of bookends for his season, as he won the season-opening Tournament of Champions. For Barrett, 34, head professional at Glenn Dale GC, and winner of the Head Pro championship, it meant another "major" runner-up finish, as he lost a playoff in the Maryland Open.


"The driver cost me, although I gutted out a few holes," Barrett said. "The percentage is usually with the guy hitting fairways and greens vs. one scrambling and having to get up-and-down a lot," Skilling said.

For the day, the champion was 1-over-par for the tight 6,000-yard course, and Barrett 2-over.


No more than one hole separated the top two players on this year's MAPGA points and money lists (Skilling won player of the year on points; Barrett was the money leader with slightly more than $10,000) for most of the day.

When Barrett rolled in an 18-foot birdie putt at the par-3 15th (after his opponent had missed from 20 feet), it set up a dramatic finish.

At the treacherous 435-yard dogleg uphill 16th, Barrett drove behind a tree, punched out, and struck a third shot that stopped 10 feet above the pin. Skilling was short in two, then hit a 25-yard wedge shot just short of the cup. Barrett's curling putt slid past the hole and Skilling made his to go 1 up.

At the 18th, Barrett drove into a bunker, then hit a 5-iron shot 170 yards to the back right fringe, 25 feet from the hole. From the middle of the fairway, "148 yards uphill into the wind," Skilling's 6-iron shot wound up just right of the flagstick.